HandmadebyClaireBear

confessions of a fabric obsessive

Category Archives: favourite blogs

If in doubt, rip it out!

I’ve been busy with a birthday gift for the last couple of days. Trying to sew satin in a hurry is never a good idea. Here are a few tips I have been reminded of the last few days while making a dozen dress-up capes for my nephews 6th birthday party. I think they’re going to be knights, but my SIL requested capes rather than amour, which is probably a good thing really.

1) Before you cut anything, measure to make sure you have enough, then iron so you aren’t cutting through creases (I only cut though one crease) which gives you odd lumps here and there.

2) When trying to use a new foot to roll a hem, find and read the instructions.

3) When you’ve given up on the new food and have decided to do the hems the old-fashioned way, fold and pin the hems and then iron them so they stay. This is very important for slippery fabrics like satin or lining!

4) If your sewing machine tries to eat your fabric more than once, unplug it, clean it out properly with the small paintbrush that you keep specially for cleaning it with and then change to a fresh sharp needle.

5) Don’t think that sewing fast means that the whole thing will be finished quicker. (see 1, 3 and 4 above). The tortoise might not always finish faster than the hare, but at least he keeps his fingers, thumbs and sanity intact!

6) If it looks bad enough to annoy you, rip it out straight away, re-iron and resew it. You’ll be happier later.

7) If you’re going to change the pattern/tutorial you are following from double-sided to single-sided because you don’t want to cut/use two pieces of fabric per cape, don’t round off the corners. You’ll need square corners so you can mitre them. Trying to hem rounded corners is a nightmare, leave it to the robots.

8) If you spend a fortnight trying to work out which fabric to use and getting sidetracked by all of the dressing up cape patterns and tutorials out there in blog land (who me?), you’ll only have 48 hours to get all 12 of them cut, sewn, finished, packed and posted off to get to the birthday boy in time for his party. Think faster and give yourself more time to sew!

They’re finished now and on their way to birthday-party-land. Here is a photo of the finished capery.

Ellen over at The Long Thread has the best superhero cape that works really well as a children’s dressing up cape (and therefore a knight’s cape). The instructions are easy and the finished results are pretty good, even after all my modifications and the sewing machine’s attempts to eat them! Plus, The Long Thread is one of my favourite blogs and I’m so glad to have finally tried one of her tutorials (albeit modified).

:O)

ClaireBear

favourite blog – rostitchery

Rostitchery has the honour of being the first blog that I read, liked and followed. Ever.

Without rostitchery, I would not have taken the plunge into blogging myself.

Rowena has been promoting buying locally and/or from makers not from what she calls “big box” retailers.

She also has a very good explanation of why your clothes don’t fit that is just as valid in the UK as it is for her in the US.

Sadly, Rowena has stopped blogging. But all of her blogging genius is still available to read for ever.

Stuff like this:

*please feel free to share your own stories about buying locally, as well as links to artists and craftsmen in your area.  i promise, word gets around, and there is power in numbers.  🙂

*buy local, buy handmade buyer hack:  if you find an artist whose work you like but you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, go ahead and ask if he/she can make something just for you!  more often than not, artists and crafters are happy to oblige, as it gives them an opportunity to expand their work and their creativity.  *** will gladly incorporate your own materials into a custom design, so feel free to bring her those sentimental pieces of jewellery or those little bits of broken nostalgia that you can’t bear to just toss into the trash. 

*buy local, buy handmade buyer hack:  start your handmade holiday shopping now!  custom, handmade gifts take time to create, and the really good makers book up fast.

Read her blog already? No? Then hop over and start now. Tell her I sent you…

Claire Bear

Mother’s Day and a Beautiful Blogger Award

This is a dual purpose post: Mother’s Day stuff at the beginning and a little award I got this week at the end.
Mother’s Day

Yesterday, I got a phone call from my Mum thanking me for her Mother’s Day present that I posted to her earlier in the week (for the benefit of my non-uk readers, today is Mother’s Day in the UK, I know some of you have Mother’s Day at a different time of year).

You may have guessed that I’m a sewing kinda gal, but Mum is more of a Mad Knitter, so I made her a knitting needle version of the crochet hook roll that I blogged about a little while ago, as well as a sewing needle book to keep all of her sewing and knitting needles in one place (ok, two places).

What you can’t see in this photo is a little pocket that I put in for circular needles and other stuff that won’t fit in knitting needle slots.

The exterior fabric for both is  a Designers’ Guild light-upholstery fabric called Peaweed that I already know that my Mum likes, because I made an apron out of it for her birthday present just before New Year.

The felt pages in the sewing needle book are a wool-blend, because wool is good for your sewing needles, and the buttons came from my stash and are just cute.

I made several sewing needle books at the same time as Mum’s.  I’ve been intending for ages to make some needlebooks to sell on Etsy, and as I was in a sewing mood…

If you follow my Facebook page, you’ll have seen them already:

One has been snapped up already, before I’ve even managed to list them in my Etsy shop and the other two will be listed there as soon as soon as I can.

Mum was very happy about her new needle organisers told me that she has no excuse now for not getting her needles organised.

Now for something completely different.

I had a comment left on my blog earlier this week:

Hi – I’ve just nominated you for ‘Beautiful Blogger Award’ – it’s posted on my blog. thank you for your lovely blog and your support and feedback. x

When I clicked through to Nice Things in my Life’s blog I found this nomination:

“HandmadebyClaireBear for her beautiful quilts and inspiration”

I was stunned (I still am).

Me? Inspiring? Who knew I could do that? (While we’re on the subject, I don’t know how I got 217 people to like my facebook page either.)

I want to say a big thank you to nicethingsinmylife for nominating me for this award. I didn’t expect my  blog to be popular: after a year of blogging I still feel like a newbie.

INSTRUCTIONS OF THE AWARD:

1. Thank the person who nominated you – see above!

2. Paste the award on your blog – see above!

3. Link the person who nominated you for the award nicethingsinmylife

4. Nominate 7 blogs or less! – see below

5. Post links to the blogs you nominate! – also below

I am nominating:

  1. Raspberry
  2. Grosgrain
  3. Em Ay Kay Ee(make)
  4. The Purl Bee
  5. The Long Thread
  6. Very Berry Handmade and
  7. Stumbles and Stitches

I’m nominating all of these blogs for their beautiful photos, inspirational writing,  helpful and friendly how-to’s, and practical tutorials.  I am guided by their professionalism and high blogging standards.

Still Stunned Claire Bear

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